BioShock Reader Review
Although I wouldn't want to praise it too much, I can safely say it's one of the best games I've ever played. Sorry if I put any spoilers here, but I'll try to avoid it.
The World of Rapture
The main thing that the game does is draws you into this convincing Art Deco world. It's all set in the underwater utopia-went-bad of Rapture in the 60s, so the juxtaposition of Art Deco and new technologies makes it something worth exploring. I've spent ages just reading all the adverts on the city walls, suggesting you get genetic upgrades to teleport to save time. But the whole place is falling apart, and it isn't immediately clear why.
The story draws you in, tantalisingly feading you audio logs people have recorded, hinting at what happened to Rapture before it ended up in its current state. The Little Sisters and their Big Daddies really add something to this. The horrific act of having turned little girls into monsters gives you an idea of the madness that spread through the population, and the Big Daddy really has you nervous everytime you see one of them slowly meandering past.
But to get anywhere in the game, you have to take down the Big Daddies to extract ADAM from the Little Sisters - ADAM is the substance used to genetically modify your character. The Big daddies are no pushover, taking a lot of armour piercing rounds to go down, making every encounter memorable. Even on Easy, they're tough as nails.
The combat itself is original, because of the Plasmids - genetic enhancements that allow you do do all sorts of things. For example, the first one you get is Electro Bolt, allowing you to stun Splicers (insane inhabitants of Rapture) or machines. One of my favourites is to summon security droids to take me down, stun them and have them as allies. The Incinerate Plasmid speaks for itself, also allowing you to melt ice for exploratory purposes. The Telekinesis Plasmid can also be used inventively, allowing you to catch grenades and return to sender Smiley All these things work in conjunction with some solid weapons, which are mostly generic Pistols and Shotguns, but with new ammo types that stun or take down organic targets easier.
Rapture is also full of things that can be used, such as Vending Machines for health and ammo, "Gatherers Gardens" for buying extra gene tonics to get new powers, and all sorts of security systems. All of these things can be Hacked - so you can get things at a reduced price from Vending Machines, or even better turn things on your side. Security Cameras usually release droids to attack you, but Hacked cameras release droids on your enemies instead. Turrets can be set to protect you, and safes can be opened. One of my personal favourites is hacking the Health Stations (which allow you to heal up). The Splicers AI means they'll try to heal up if you're giving them a real beating, but a hacked station will release poison instead. "Take that, mister!" as an in-game ally says, albiet of an unrelated subject.
A Lovingly Developed Game
Everything about this game is so well put together. The sound is amazing, with the ocean all around you, the stomping of the Big Daddies, and music from the time eerily echoing through Raptures chambers. The visuals are astounding, especially the water which always threatens to burst forth from the walls and drown you. The AI of the enemies is fairly excellent, with enemies retreating if hurt, or taking advantage of your reloading.
There is very little wrong with the game. It's all so well polished that saying anything negative can be hard to do - of the things that might annoy, there are no clear ways to get around them. Some may not like the hacking mini-game, but the thing about this game is you can ignore the hacking if you dislike it. You can ignore the Plasmids in favour of playing it as a straight shooter, or avoid the early Big Daddies if you want. its not an open-world as such, but it is completely open ended. When the game developers say no two players will play it the same, they could well be right.
Lacking Moral Fibre?
All this, and I've not mentioned the moral decision that draws you in just a bit more. Once the Big Daddies are taken out, you have the choice to eaither Harvest the Little Sisters he was guarding, or rescue here. She tries to run and cower in a corner, shivering with fear, and you can either Harvest and get a lot of ADAM to spend on new upgrades, or rescue which only gets half the payoff, but is morally more sound.
Freedom is what makes this game amazing, but there is one choice you shouldn't have to make so I'll help you. I know this game is over-hyped, but you really do need this game. I don't think you'll regret the purchase.
10 / 10